You are currently viewing 🇦🇱 All About Besa: Albania’s Eurovision 2024 Artist Preview
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She was one of the first Eurovision artists to be confirmed, having won the televote of Festivali i Këngës back in December 2023 with the song ‘Zemrën n’dôre’. However, on 11th March Besa Kokëdhima unveiled her revamped Eurovision entry ‘TiTAN’. Read on to learn more about Besa, her career so far and her journey to represent Albania in May.

Who is Besa?

Besa Kokëdhima (known mononymously as Besa) was born in 1986 in the city of Fier, when Albania was still known as the People’s Socialist Republic. Her father is the wealthy businessman and politician Koço Kokëdhima.

At the age of 15, Besa moved to the United Kingdom for school and also began taking piano lessons. When she was 17, Besa participated in the United Kingdom International Student Talent Competition, initially intending to compete as a pianist. However, just a few hours before the show, her piano teacher heard her singing and encouraged her to participate as a singer instead.

Having kickstarted her singing career, Besa released her debut single ‘Më Beso’ (‘Believe Me’) alongside Albanian group Produkt 28 in 2003. The single went on to win the Golden Microphone award. This was followed by her debut album ‘Besa’, which was released in 2006.

In 2009, Besa made her first attempts to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest, competing in Festivali i Këngës for the first time with the song ‘Ajër’ (‘Air’). She also attempted to represent Romania by competing in Selecţia Naţională with the song ‘Nothin’ Gonna Change’ which ended up reaching the semi-finals of the contest. You can listen to the song below:

Besa has also competed in a number of other Albanian song competitions, winning Best Female Singer in 2010 at Top Fest with her song ‘Kalorësi i Natës’ (‘The Knight of the Night’). She also won Kënga Magjike in 2013 with her song ‘Tatuazh në zemër‘ (‘Heart Tattoo’). With such experience under her belt, Besa was able to participate as a judge in The Voice of Albania in 2017, where she was voted the nation’s favourite judge in Top Channel polls.

In addition to her success in Albania, Besa has also turned her attention to the French music industry, releasing her French-language debut album ‘En Equilibre’ in 2022 to a positive reception.

The Journey to Eurovision

For the second year in a row, FiK chose its Eurovision representative entirely through televote, while the winner of the festival itself was decided by juries. This meant that, while the juries chose debut entrant Mal Retkoceri with his song ‘Çmendur’ to take the top prize, the Albanian public chose Besa to represent them at Eurovision.

As per the rules of the festival, Besa performed her song ‘Zemrën n’dôre’ (‘Heart in Hand’) in Albanian. However, as Albania are a country renowned for significantly revamping their Eurovision entries, all eyes were on Besa to see how far her song might change. Sure enough, Besa confirmed shortly after the contest that she would be revamping her entry and that it would be released in English. Taking to her Twitter page, Besa explained that this decision had been made because “The song and message has grown to be too cool to be kept only to Albanian speaking audiences. I want ALL of you to understand and feel it.”

Indeed, on 11th March Besa released her reworked song ‘TiTAN’ and it had undergone significant alterations as well as the language change. The gentle piano at the beginning of ‘Zemrën n’dôre’ was replaced in ‘TiTAN’ by sparse chords and a ticking beat before swelling into the chorus. While both versions feature a rap version in the second verse, the lyrical content throughout is strikingly different, with lyrics such as ‘Do you have a soul? Do you have enough strength? Do you have enough love to give me? If you’re in danger, I won’t let you fall.’ in the chorus of ‘Zemrën n’dôre’ being replaced with lines like ‘I won’t go down, I’ll never break. Like a titan, I’ll be brave.’ in ‘TiTAN’.

Besa has performed ‘TiTAN’ at the Eurovision pre-parties in Spain and the Netherlands, as well as at the Albania v Chile UEFA Friendlies Match in March.

Albania will perform second in the running order in the first semi-final on Tuesday 7th May. While this has sometimes been dubbed the ‘death slot’ due to no act having won from this position in the final, Besa will have significantly fewer acts to contend with in the semi which could help her chances. Regardless, we will certainly be wishing her and Albania the best of luck in May!

You can follow Besa on social media!

Instagram@divabesa

Twitter/X@BesaOfficial

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